medeterrainian 121

Meli

Meli was a force. I remember on my first trip to Turkey in 2006 when she took us to the Ataturk Memorial in Ankara. We stood, 20 American tourists, next to the massive, neo-classical building resembling a modern Acropolis. She began to tell us about Ataturk and how he founded modern Turkey. Before she could…

Syria 2011 (193)

Aleppo Pepper

I look into the cupboard and see the jar I want, the half-worn word Aleppo written on it, in my handwriting. The dish I’m making calls for Aleppo pepper, a dried chili pepper used commonly in Middle Eastern cooking. I grab it and think of Aiman, my friend and former guide in Syria, who is…

Palmyra, Syria

Palmyra (and the Endless War)

ISIS in Full Control of Syria’s Palmyra. I read the BBC headline and took a deep breath. I have been to the site of ancient Palmyra. I have walked its colonnaded streets under towering pillars. Now, as the war in Syria enters its fifth year, the renegade Islamic State of ISIS is in control of…

Syria 2011 (977)

The Gates of Damascus

Search for the words “Syria” or “Damascus” on the web today and headlines about chemical weapons, rocket attacks, and civilians being killed in a civil war that has dragged on for four years is what you get in return. Many of my friends don’t want to think about the Syrian war anymore. It’s become old…